Number of servings : 12 servings
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Type of meal : | Side Dishes | Side Dishes
Special diet :
3/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds
6 firm yet ripe pears, such as Bosc
1 pound dried figs
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup brandy or rum (optional)
1 quart premium vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange almonds in a single layer in a jelly-roll pan or shallow baking dish. Toast in oven 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Remove and set aside.
Peel pears and cut each into 8 wedges. Remove and discard cores. Cut figs into quarters. Using a zester or vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the lemon (yellow part only), and cut it into matchstick-thin strips.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Blend in sugar and water. Cut vanilla bean in half, and using the tip of a small knife, scrape beans into butter-sugar mixture. Add the pod as well. Stir in ginger. Add the pears, figs, and lemon zest, and stir gently to coat. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes, or until fruit is tender but not mushy. Stir in brandy, if using. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead to this point. Cover and refrigerate. Warm over low heat, stirring gently and frequently before serving.) Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and garnished with toasted almonds.